Q&A: Question about Intervals in Chords

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Check out Mervyn’s great question about intervals in chords and my response.

Mervyn asked:

I recently discovered your website and YouTube channel and I’m enjoying the content. I have a question about intervals. It appears when musicians talk about them they are referring to the root note of a chord as the starting point to determine the intervals of the notes that follow. For example C E G B C (Major 7th Chord) makes C the root note, E the 3rd, G the 5th, B the 7th, and C the octave. I recently discovered a chord or bass line has intervals that occur as we move from one note to the next which are different from what is heard when the starting point is a root note. By analyzing the Major 7th Chord again and this time doing it note by note to determine the intervals,  C to E is a 3rd, E to G is a minor 3rd, and G to B is a 3rd, and B to C is a minor second. Is it incorrect to think of intervals from this perspective? Do we always have to analyze or label them as they occur from a root note or can we view the intervals as they occur from one note to the next?

You have permission to use my first name if you decide to answer my question in a blog post. Thanks a lot for your time. I appreciate your help.

I answer his question in two ways; keywords: musical understanding of a chord, and fingering.


I play my Votan XS Marleaux in this video.

Fretwrap by Gruvgear.

I use TC Amplification.

Dean Markley SR 2000 Strings.

WolftrackAudio provided Sound. Many thanks!


  • Michael Snider
    September 2, 2016, 10:02  Reply

    I can’t access your archives> There was a really important (for me) arpeggio excise in one of them that I haven’t finished watching.

    • Ari
      September 4, 2016, 19:27

      Sorry, Michel, working on the archives. I could access them just a few days ago, but my developer just told me something is off. Working on it. Other than arpeggios what else was in the video, so I can help you find it? My guess is still that it is a notreble video, crossposted to this site. http://www.notreble.com/lessons/talking-technique

  • Ari
    September 2, 2016, 13:30  Reply

    Archives are arisbassblog homepage. Scroll down and search by month. You may also be referring to a post here, however: http://www.notreble.com/lessons/talking-technique/

  • Michael
    September 9, 2016, 11:14  Reply

    Thank you. I may have been wrong about the video being in the archives. A few days ago I searched and found what I was looking for in Bass Bits: triad exercises. What a nice video; just what I need in this point of my bass development. You’re doing a great job.

    March 20, 2017, 19:59  Reply

    Ari–Do you have any recommendations for correct standing posture? After my last gig in which I stood for over two hours without a break my feet ached and my shoulders and back were tight. As I tired I kept slouching forward. Have you already discussed this somewhere on this site?

    • Ari
      March 20, 2017, 20:08

      Hi Michael, have not tackled this topic but it is a great topic. I recommend to monitor for tension – are you pulling up shoulders, holding tension in the neck? Monitor for symmetry. I always practice with mirrors. Good shoes, a wide strap, these are all helpful. I use a standing desk for computer work, it has definitely increased my stamina. Dr Randy Kertz has good resources on taking care of your feet on his blog at ISB. His website is http://www.drkertz.com/

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